Dear Friends in Christ,

Here are a few updates from the parish for the week of February 21, 2021.
2) Fish Fry Finder: The Archdiocese of Detroit recently launched an interactive Friday Fish Fry Finder to help metro Detroit Catholics find a Fish Fry located near them. The site can be found at

Read more about Fish Fries at parishes in the Archdiocese of Detroit by reading the article found in the Detroit Catholic. Read More ...
3) Hallow App: I am excited to share with you a gift from the parish that will hopefully be useful in your own prayer lives and those of your families.

Hallow is a Catholic prayer and meditation app that helps users deepen their relationship with God through audio-guided contemplative prayer sessions. The app launched 2 years ago and is already the #1 Catholic app in the world.

We have a number of parishioners who are already using the app and loving it. Great for praying alone or together with your spouse/family, Hallow truly has something for everyone, no matter what you are going through (see below for their different content categories).

Hallow is free to download and has tons of permanently free content, as well as a premium subscription, Hallow Plus.

This Lent, we have partnered with the Hallow team to provide Hallow Plus access to all parishioners for FREE through Easter. No credit card required.

To get started, simply click the button above/below to activate your free account on the Hallow website. Make sure to select “Sign Up with Email” when registering. For step-by-step instructions, you can visit this process guide. If, for any reason, your parish code does not automatically apply, you can manually enter the code [stjoanofarcmi] on the subscription screen.

If you run into any issues, simply reach out to Hallow support using the live chat at or by emailing  
4) Regarding the General Dispensation from the Obligation to Attend Mass

Archbishop Vigneron Calls the Faithful Back to Mass Starting March 13 ... with some exceptions. The dispensation remains in place for people in high-risk categories, caregivers and others; masking and capacity rules do not change.

From the Detroit Catholic:

Citing the “essential and central nature of the Eucharistic Sacrifice” in the life of the Church, Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron on Feb. 9 announced the general dispensation from Sunday Mass for Catholics in the Archdiocese of Detroit will expire on March 13.

However, while the general dispensation — which relieves all Catholics in the archdiocese from their moral obligation to attend Mass on Sundays and holy days — is expiring, the archbishop said he will continue to grant “particular dispensations” to those in need, including those who are at high risk of COVID-19.

Others who may continue to be excused from their Sunday obligation include:

  • Those who are ill or whose health would be significantly compromised were they to contract a communicable illness;
  • Those who care for the sick, homebound or infirmed or someone in a high-risk category;
  • Pregnant women;
  • Those age 65 or older;
  • Those who cannot attend Mass for other reasons (such as a lack of transportation or being turned away because of capacity limits); and
  • Those who have “significant fear or anxiety of becoming ill by being at Mass.”


Come home to the sacraments.
Come home to community.
Come home to hope.
6) Holy Hour This Week: Please consider joining us for Holy Hour this Thursday (also live-streamed) at 7 PM. This week's Holy Hour will be silent (there will be no music).
7) This Sunday's Readings - Sunday February 21, 2021
8) Grow+Go for the First Sunday of Lent:
Grow+Go, content is designed to help you understand what it means to be an evangelizing disciple of Christ. Using the Sunday Scriptures as the basis for reflection, Grow+Go offers insight into how we can all more fully GROW as disciples and then GO evangelize, fulfilling Christ's Great Commission to "Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." (Matthew 28:19) The concept behind the weekly series is to make discipleship and evangelization simple, concrete, and relatable.

Click on the button or image below to download a PDF copy of this Sunday's Grow+Go.
9) Sunday Reflection by Jeff Cavins:
In this week’s Encountering the Word video for the First Sunday of Lent, Jeff Cavins helps us enter into Lent with not just faith in what Jesus taught, but a genuine trust in Jesus the person.
10) Giving to SJA: I'm truly grateful for all of your support of SJA during this pandemic. Your support means so much. The increase in electronic giving has been tremendous. Giving electronically, whether on a one-time or recurring basis is pretty simple. For more information on online giving, please click on the following button.
11) This week's edition of TALLer Tales:
Who’s car is that? As I sit here on a snowy Tuesday and hear all the work being done outside to clear the snow, I can’t help but remember an incident that happened a week ago last Friday or whenever we last had a few inches of snow.
As a backdrop to the story, you need to know that I was called out to Ascension St. John Hospital to anoint someone on the Thursday of that same week. This wasn’t your typical anointing. Because I haven’t had both of my vaccines yet, I still can’t be present in the hospitals. So, getting a call from Father Mahoney, the chaplain at Ascension St. John, caught me off guard. He explained the request was unusual. The person needing anointing was in the process of dying. She also had Alzheimer’s. The family discovered that the individual wasn’t responding in English but was responding in her native Italian. Father Mahoney knew I could speak some Italian, so he wanted to see if I would come down to the hospital to anoint her in Italian. It wasn’t an emergency but needed to be done sometime that day. Eventually, I printed the ritual in Italian and headed out to the hospital. When I got up to the room, the person was somewhat alert. I tried to dialogue with her in Italian, but she wasn’t responding that much at all. After struggling through the ritual for a few minutes in Italian, I switched back to English; otherwise, I would have been there a long time! I remembered looking around the room and realized no one but God would have known I switched back to English. I then returned to the Parish for Holy Hour that evening.
That Friday morning, I remember walking over to Church for the 7 AM mass and happened to see a black car parked near the entrance to the Church. At first, I thought the car belonged to Dina, our Business Manager. I thought she arrived at Church pretty early that morning. The car had been parked there for some time because the snow crew had to work around it when they plowed the snow that morning. It always grinds me (and I’m sure our snow crew) whenever cars are left in the lot when it snows. I didn’t think anything of it and walked into Church for Mass. After Mass, I realized the car didn’t belong to Dina because I saw her get into her car on the other side of this black vehicle.

As this was a Friday, I was going to fulfill my Friday plans to be with my Mom (and thus take a day off). Now granted, I love being with my Mom on these Fridays, but I also have a strong motivator not to weasel my way out of these days occasionally when I have too much going on. That strong motivator is knowing that Father Rich would positively, absolutely, and undoubtedly RAT ME OUT at a Saturday 4 PM Mass, and thus to the world since it’s our greatest attended live-stream liturgy too.

To get ready for my Friday, I walked back to the office to clean things up before I got close to my scheduled 10 AM departure. But the talk of the office was the black car that sat there overnight and hindered the snow crew. When it was time to leave the office, I walked to the house, changed out of my blacks, and gathered what I needed for the day with my Mom. I then pushed my garage door opener. As the garage door was opening, my heart sank for a minute because my car was missing! Right away, I thought someone stole my car. But then I had a conversation with myself after face palming myself. “You BIG dummy,” I said to myself. “That black car everyone is talking about near the Church is YOURS!” That’s where I parked it after returning from the hospital the night before.
Led into the Desert: Every year, as I reflect on this weekend’s Gospel, I’m always struck by one line: “Jesus was led by the Spirit into the desert ….” Matthew and Luke’s version says “led;” Mark’s version says, “The Spirit drove Jesus into the desert …” Just as the Spirit LED Jesus into the desert, we too find ourselves being led into our own deserts probably more often than we wish. It is here we are called to face our temptations and strive to turn our lives and hearts more completely to God. And, just as much as Jesus emerged from the 40 days in the desert and went and proclaimed the Gospel in Galilee, we too are called to emerge from the desert as Easter people ready and willing to proclaim the Gospel to all we meet on our journey.
While many of us have never been in a desert and don’t comprehend the harsh environment it entails, we know that if you remain still, your chances of survival are minimal. In order to survive, you must traverse the desert.
During this Lenten season, we enter our own desert(s). Sometimes the deserts we face are frightening and overwhelming, like dealing with a terminal illness or helping a spouse or parent with Alzheimer’s. Some deserts might be the fear of losing a job or health care. Some deserts might be the reality that a college education for our child may no longer be a reality because of finances. Some deserts might be the same as those in years past; it might be the desert of addiction or sinful behavior. It could be the desert of isolation caused by the pandemic. Whatever the desert, we are called to traverse it with God’s help and emerge from it as risen people!
Too often in the deserts of our lives, we lose sight of the “promised land” or the oasis we seek. Sometimes, we even forget that God NEVER leaves us orphaned or abandoned. We need to realize that God is present in our desert experiences and that it is only with his help that we get the courage and strength to keep moving toward better land.

Yes, we may have been led into a desert we didn’t expect. We may wonder why we were led down this road. Lent is about facing the deserts of our lives. It is not about asking the question WHY but rather HOW this desert experience might be calling us to conversion and repentance. Lent is about doing something to traverse the desert in order to emerge as changed people.
The question remains then what helps us traverse the desert. First, we must realize that the Spirit is present, and much like with Jesus, angels are present to minister to us. Second, we need to orient our hearts and minds toward God. You need a strong compass/GPS, and you need to keep focused. You need to know where you are going. Without a compass or focus, you can wander for a long time. If you want to go someplace, if you truly want to emerge from your desert, you need the proper tools. For Christians, the ultimate tool is a relationship with God. Without that relationship, without that prayer, without that compass, we may never find our oasis. Prayer then becomes our GPS to help us get out of the deserts of our lives.
Happy Lent.
Enjoy the week. Know of my prayers.

In Christ,
Msgr Mike Simply Signature
12) Tire Tracks in the d’Arc
Drawing An Analogy, Drawing Strength From Confession: When I was very young, I used to like to draw. I kept it up into my early teens. By then, I was pretty much exclusively drawing race cars. I don’t know why, but after the age of 14, I didn’t draw at all. I don’t remember which seminary class I was in (maybe I didn’t even know at the time!) but I must not have been particularly engaged because I started doodling in my notepad, a race car again. One of my classmates, who is an amazing artist, saw it back in my room and said, “You should draw Mary.” I said, “I can’t draw Mary; I only draw race cars.” He went off to his room and came back with a sketch pad and pencils, put them down on my dresser and said “Draw Mary,” and walked out.
The next day he came in my room and said, “Show me Mary.” I told him I hadn't even thought about it since the day before. He threw his arms up, rolled his eyes and walked out. The next day, the same scene played out again. So he stopped asking. 6 months passed by and now I’d thought about it. We were in Irene, South Dakota, a town of 300 people, on a 30-day silent retreat. No wonder I had time to think about it. It was July and I was sitting outside the retreat house, making my first attempt to draw the Blessed Mother. My classmate walked up, looked over my shoulder and grinned and nodded with a satisfied, “my work here is done” kind of look on his face—of course we weren’t allowed to speak! He said later, “I could see the lines on those race cars and I knew you could draw Mary.” Since then, I have drawn more, not a lot, but it’s an enjoyable hobby. I have tried to experiment with a few different styles in the past year or so. Recently, I’ve been working on a sketch of a bridge and surrounding buildings from a part of Rome. I’ve discovered that old Italian buildings are, well...old….and very forgiving to draw. I’m taking it from a picture I found online. There are no straight lines where you might usually expect straight lines on a building, so any error is easy to cover.
One of the reasons I don’t draw more often, I think, is that starting a new sketch is always less fun than continuing one I’ve been working on for a while. Once I finish one, that tends to be it for a while, until I really find the motivation again. I enjoy the shading work, but less so the outlining. Later on you can see progress in the work, but at the beginning it’s tough to get going.
I can’t help but find analogies everywhere—it’s just the way my brain operates. And I was thinking of the similarity between this and the Sacrament of Confession (bear with me here!) If it’s been a while since you went, it may be difficult to get back into starting a new practice, a habit (a good habit). And then it often becomes a question of where to start. Don’t overthink it.
- “Father, it’s been a year/ 5 years/ 20 years since my last confession.”
- “Welcome back.”
A return to confession is always a beautiful thing. Now you’ve started again. And now we have an outline. And the process is the same, whether it’s been a week or 20 years since you confessed last. Now start on the details… BUT…. when I say details, trust the priest to ask for more - if he needs you to shade it in a little so he understands what you are confessing. All you need to do is give the sins you are aware of having committed. Worried about how to confess the biggest ones? Don’t be! No priest has to wait very long before he’s just about heard it all. And be assured your sins are not that unusual or interesting that we want to dwell on them. I tell people when they say, “I don’t know where to start,” “Start with the biggest.” Don’t sit getting more anxious about how to say it, just say it: “Father I ………….”
Rarely does any individual sin you are confessing need more than a few words, one sentence. The story of what led you into that sin might be true, and it’s good to examine your conscience to help you avoid any near occasion of sin again, but it’s not usually significant to the end result…. you sinned. Just confess the sin and not the story. The priest can absolve the sin, but not the circumstances that led to it. It’s the sin you came to ask for God’s mercy for. What leads us to sin is that ultimately we are all fallen people. We are all sinners. God knows this and that’s why He gave us the sacrament as the means of our redemption. We don’t need to try to water-down or justify our sins, just to be honest and sincere with God, “Lord, I’m a sinner; I need you and your mercy.”
Remember, too, that in confession, you are confessing sins, not virtues. God knows all of them, but he doesn't ask you to come and confess that you pray the Rosary every day or that you love Mary and would never hurt anyone. Those are good things, but the priest can’t absolve them! Nor can the priest absolve someone else’s sin! I have told penitents that if they confess another person’s sin, I’ll give them their penance as well as their own!
I often wonder where a confession is about to go when a penitent begins with “Bless me Father, my wife….” or “Bless me Father, my husband….” Confession is about you and God…. Someone else may have been in the wrong, but presumably you’re mentioning it because it drew you into doing or saying something wrong too, so that’s really the part you need be concerned with in the sacrament. The rest is between that person and God. There is no pyx for taking God’s forgiveness home from confession for someone else.
Please try to remember that there are usually other people in line, and you don’t want to cause them the sin of anger while they wait for you to tell the priest what he doesn't need to hear! It is charitable to be especially attentive to this in Lent, when lines are longer. Don’t skip sins, just go right to the point.
God is so forgiving. Even when our attempts at confession are imperfect, God’s heart is consoled that you came to confess… to ask for His mercy. We are like the crooked lines of the Italian buildings in the sketch, but God erases any mistakes me make if we are willing to present them to Him in all humility.
Don’t worry about the process - if you’re unsure how to go to confession, just tell the priest that and he will guide you through it. There are many helpful guides and examinations of conscience available online and in Catholic bookstores.
Lent is a beautiful time to turn back to God and to simply ask for the mercy He makes available to us in the Sacrament of Confession. God is waiting, hands open, waiting for us to off-load our burden of sin. Why not take Him up on the offer?
You are in my prayers this week!

Fr. Andrew

13) Words on the Word: February 21, 2021 - Among Wild Beasts

Lent begins this year with the very brief description from St. Mark’s gospel about Jesus’ time of fasting in the desert:

“The Spirit drove Jesus out into the desert,” today’s gospel passage begins, “and (Jesus) remained in the desert for forty days, tempted by Satan. He was among wild beasts, and the angels ministered to him.”

Rather than provide detail about the temptations of Jesus, as we often hear of this 40-day period, St. Mark instead observes that Jesus was “among wild beasts.”

Sometimes, alas, it can feel like Jesus’ church today is among those same beasts, or others, depending on how one reads the passage and the circumstances.

An Associated Press article a few weeks ago described how dioceses across the country benefitted from a portion of a $1.5 billion emergency relief program that had been established to help small businesses caught in the economic crosshairs of the pandemic. This was done, the reporting continued, even as the dioceses collectively had more than $10 billion in cash that could have helped them weather the storm.

An analysis of whether the accounting is correct, and whether the insinuation of wrongdoing is fair or even close to accurate if beyond the purview of this space. Such matters, as we all know, always are subject to deeper explanations than quick media accounts usually provide.

More instructive for the moment is the predictable commentary that followed, which quickly became a collection of “church vs. state separation” comments, at best, and clear anti-Catholic propaganda and vitriol, at worst. The lesson, as usual, is that regardless of the surface details, there are deeper, more pressing concerns with which the church and its members should concern themselves as we commence with Lent.

“Repent,” Jesus says at the conclusion of today’s passage, “and believe in the gospel.”

© 2021, Words on the Word 
14) New Podcast From Fr. Mike Schmitz, featuring Jeff Cavins: The Bible In A Year:

If you’ve struggled to read the Bible, this podcast is for you.

Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast, hosted by Fr. Mike Schmitz and featuring Jeff Cavins, guides Catholics through the Bible in 365 daily episodes starting January 1st, 2021.

Each 20-25 minute episode includes:

  • two to three scripture readings 
  • a reflection from Fr. Mike Schmitz
  • and guided prayer to help you hear God’s voice in his Word.

Unlike any other Bible podcast, Ascension’s Bible in a Year Podcast for Catholics follows a reading plan inspired by the Great Adventure Bible Timeline® learning system, a groundbreaking approach to understanding Salvation History developed by renowned Catholic Bible teacher Jeff Cavins.

Tune in and live your daily life through the lens of God’s word!
This week's LIVE Stream
Schedule at St. Joan of Arc:
Monday (February 22):
7 AM - Mass

Tuesday (February 23):
7 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 5-8)
10 AM - Funeral of Alma Wronski (Read Obituary HERE)

Wednesday (February 24):
7 AM - Mass
8:30 AM - School Mass (Grades 1-4)

Thursday (February 25):
7 AM - Mass
7 PM - Holy Hour (Silent Holy Hour)

Friday (February 26):
7 AM - Mass
7 PM - Stations of the Cross

Saturday (February 27):
1:30 PM - Baptism of Michael Lechkun
4 PM - Mass
6 PM - Mass

Sunday (February 28):
8 AM - Mass
12 Noon - Mass

Please note that all of our masses and events can be accessed through the ARCHIVE section of our Live stream page if you are not able to watch it live!

We also have our own ROKU Channel. Search for "CATHOLIC" in the ROKU channel store, and you will find SJA's channel. A Fire TV Channel is also available.
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to download a copy of our
Bulletin for Sunday, February 21, 2021
The First Sunday of Lent
Weekly bulletin: Sending the bulletin has been greatly received by so many people. IF you are getting the bulletin online and would prefer that it not be mailed to your home, please click on the button below to be removed from the mailing list.

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Read the latest from the DETROIT CATHOLIC
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